Today should be quite a day. I started the day with a "quick" ride up Via Bolognese through Montorsoli to the turn off in Pratolino, where I refilled my water and doused my head. After yesterday's long and fast ride, I was a little slow today. Although I was out by 10 or so, it was already in the mid 80's and for me, relatively humid. From Pratolino, I climbed to the turn off for Caselline, then Viliano, then the climb up the church road to Bivigliano. I took a little break, as I had climbed around 1500 to 1800 vertical, and the climbing was basically over. From Bivigliano, you take a gradual descent / contour road over the the Alberaccio junction, then descend through L'Olmo, Caldine, Pian de Mugnone, then return to the apartment in Firenze. Around 38 kilometers in an hour and 42 minutes - not as slow as I thought.
Flowers at the roadside park at the water station in Pratolino.
The beautiful road above Pratolino.
Yes, the sign does say 18% downhill. A spur off the road above Pratolino.
The beginning of the contour / descent from Bivigliano.
Today at 5 the finals of this years Calcio Storico takes place in the Piazza Santa Croce. It is San Giovanni day, who is one of the patron saints of Florence. Last weekend the four teams representing the ancient 4 quarters of the city played the preliminary rounds, and the final is today. I watched some last week on TV, and it appears to be a blend of Rugby, Soccer, and a semi-organized brawl. I have read since that the games have been going on annually since the 1600's. Emily and I have seats to watch, and I will bring the camera and hopefully have some pictures. After the match, we return home and at 10 or so, there is the biggest fireworks display of the year, which should be great to see from the balcony of our apartment.
OK - Calcio Storico is totally crazy. Ben had told me it was a brawl with a game of sorts involved, and he was pretty much correct. Basically, two teams take the field, after a good hour of medieval parade, horns and drums, flag throwers, etc, and guys square off and fight. A lot of swinging with not that much connection, but then someone will come on a guy fighting and blindside him with a flying tackle in the back. Really, truly, nuts. Eventually they all wear down, and the teams run with the ball and try to put it in the opponents net, which runs the whole length of the end of each side of the field. The fans for both teams were quite into it, and our seats were by the Azzuro end or the Santa Croce quarter. Well, they got their butts kicked pretty good, and by the end, water bottles, blue smoke bombs, and other things were pouring onto the field. Actually, it was fun to watch and it appeared no one really got hurt. I checked into the game further, and they believe it may have started in 59 AD and was called Florentine Soccer, and may have been the root of both modern soccer and rugby. Either way, it was quite a spectacle. Back home and doing this post, so the pictures will follow. Hopefully, I will get a picture of the fireworks that are scheduled to start at 10 and post it as well.
The Azurra (blue) fans with a big banner before the start of the game.
The field with all the people from the parade, teams, etc. that preceded the game.
During the game. Notice guys squaring off, guys on the ground on top of each other, and somewhere, someone has the ball and is waiting for an opening to try to run it to the other teams end and throw it in a net that runs the width of the field. INSANE!
Fireworks from the balcony.